Afterthoughts

peetaah:

Weird Al teaches us proper grammar.

Holy crap this is one of my biggest pet peeves. Only use “less” if you can’t count the noun.
"There is less flour in the jar" vs "There are fewer cups of flour in the jar".

peetaah:

Weird Al teaches us proper grammar.

Holy crap this is one of my biggest pet peeves. Only use “less” if you can’t count the noun.

"There is less flour in the jar" vs "There are fewer cups of flour in the jar".

(Source: peetaah, via prisonforjerks)

The new definition of community

Mifc-all
Community is such a big social marketing buzzword right now that everyone wants their work in social marketing to fall under the banner of community; they bend the definition to ensure it. The truth is that community only exists when a sense of community exists. They can prattle on about the tools, platforms and engagement metrics all they want but that doesn’t make it a community.

Over the past several weeks I’ve talked about redefining the word community but what I’m really doing is returning community to its truest form.

Community is difficult to define because it’s something that’s hard for objective observers to see even though community members can feel it. Many have tried to go about it, specifying objective indicators such as the tools that group members use, the types of interactions they have with one another and even diminishing the relevance of how much time is spent together by a group’s members. Many of them sound right but just don’t feel right because they’re missing the truth of it all: community is something you feel.

A community is a group of people who feel a “sense of community”.

Thankfully, a “sense of community” is relatively well defined, thanks to the work of many community psychology scholars, in particular McMillan and Chavis. Their 1986 paper, Sense of community: a theory and definition, tells us everything we need to know about how to identify when someone is experiencing a sense of community. If enough members of a group are feeling a sense of community, it is reasonable to suggest that their group is therefore itself a community.

So, let’s go back over how a sense of community is defined. For the purposes of clarity and to save you some time, I’ll do this in point-form. If you want to learn more, follow the link to the relevant article.

A sense of community has the following four key elements:

Membership

  • A demonstrable boundary between those who are members and those who are not (us vs them)
  • The boundary can be:
    • geographical
    • access-oriented, only those who have access to something are part of it
    • a label, requiring a tag, badge or title
    • a rite-of-passage, requiring the completion of a task
    • a shared system of symbols such as uniforms, handshakes, subcultural dialects, or private memes
    • a combination of all of the above
  • Members use the boundary to identify one another
  • Members use the boundary to identify new members

Influence

  • The ability for a member to influence the rest of the community
  • The ability for the community to influence each of its members
  • The ability for the community to influence external parties
  • Can also be looked at as “trust”, as in “we share things with one another” not “we listened to our customers!”

Fulfilment

  • The need that instigated joining the community must be satisfied, or is replaced with a new need that must be satisfied
  • Giving to the community will result in fulfilment of needs
  • Communities have an economy of social trade, often fuelled by mutual reinforcement of one another and of the community
  • Going above and beyond in supporting the community will not only fulfil a member’s own needs but also further those of the community; the rewards range from a stronger community to all sorts of other unexpected benefits

Connection

  • A shared emotional connection is possibly the most important element for true community
  • Frequent high-quality interaction will result in stronger bonds between members
  • Communities that have a purpose and shared tasks will develop greater group cohesion
  • Members sharing a major community event will be more strongly connected to one another
  • Can develop into a spiritual bond, like Aussie “mateship”

You’ll notice these four elements have a lot of potential for interrelation and overlap. That interconnectedness of the elements is important — to truly exist a sense of community requires all four elements.

At the end of my post on Connection I cobbled together a final definition of community. It was:

"Community is a group of people who, together, share the feeling they belong to something, can influence and be influenced by one another, and can have their needs fulfilled by fulfilling the needs of the group."

The truth is I knew the process would end with that result. If it were that easy, community would have been more clearly defined long ago.

The innovation I’m introducing here isn’t an innovation at all. It’s just a long forgotten technique for looking at community: observing it from the inside instead of the outside.

A community is a group of people who experience a sense of community.

If you’re building a community, you should focus on helping your members find that sense of community. The rest will follow on its own.

If you loved this series, be sure to subscribe in your favourite RSS reader, as I’ll soon be making available a free e-book including all of this re-defining info. You can subscribe here.

Posted from Greg Lexiphanic | Comment »

As of the past week, the ability to videochat is pretty much ubiquitous and we’ll all do it now and again. But the cupholder isn’t the car, and to treat the ability to videochat in any form as tantamount to transforming communication would be reaching too far. Videochatting might become indispensable, but I think it will remain mostly irrelevant. Videochat: The cupholder of social networking (via professionalinternetenthusiast)
fnordmotors:

omfg yes

omfg no.
We just had a movie of this only 6 years ago and, quite frankly, although the direction and changes to the story were very poor, the casting of it was pretty darn good.
Arthur Dent = Martin Freeman
Sam Rockwell = Zaphod Bebblebrox
Trillian = Zooey Deschanel
Slartibartfast = Bill Nighy
Alan Rickman = voice of Marvin
Stephen Fry = The Guide!
Plus there were outstanding cameos from The League of Gentlemen as various vogons and Bill Bailey as The Whale.
In another six years, the above cast will change, with people wanting whichever comedic pair have replaced Peep Show, whichever elderly comedian is due for a not-too-challenging-but-looks-clever role, whomever happens to be the Doctor’s companion in 2017, and… Stephen Fry as The Guide!
Aren’t you all so clever?

fnordmotors:

omfg yes

omfg no.

We just had a movie of this only 6 years ago and, quite frankly, although the direction and changes to the story were very poor, the casting of it was pretty darn good.

  • Arthur Dent = Martin Freeman
  • Sam Rockwell = Zaphod Bebblebrox
  • Trillian = Zooey Deschanel
  • Slartibartfast = Bill Nighy
  • Alan Rickman = voice of Marvin
  • Stephen Fry = The Guide!

Plus there were outstanding cameos from The League of Gentlemen as various vogons and Bill Bailey as The Whale.

In another six years, the above cast will change, with people wanting whichever comedic pair have replaced Peep Show, whichever elderly comedian is due for a not-too-challenging-but-looks-clever role, whomever happens to be the Doctor’s companion in 2017, and… Stephen Fry as The Guide!

Aren’t you all so clever?

(via fnordmotors-deactivated20111207)

The 4 Elements of Community — Part 4 — Connection

Mifc_c
This is part 4 in my series of posts creating a new definition for community. Don’t miss the introduction, Part 1 — Membership, Part 2 — Influence and Part 3 — Fulfilment.

As mentioned in the introduction, a sense of community has four main elements:

  1. Membership
  2. Influence
  3. Fulfilment
  4. Shared emotional connection

At the end of Part 3 - Fulfilment, I described community as:

"…a group of people who feel they belong to something, can influence and be influenced by one another, and will have their needs fulfilled by fulfilling the needs of the group."

Over those past three posts we have seen the elements of membership, influence and fulfilment come together and build what sounds like it would be enough to create a community, however, the most important element is that there be a shared emotional connection.

If you’ve read the previous posts, you would know that I lean heavily on McMillan & Chavis’ 1986 paper "Sense of community: a theory and definition". Indeed, it is a seminal paper: according to Google Scholar it has been cited by at least 1344 other papers. I couldn’t find anything else from the Journal of Community Psychology that even came close to that number. It is a critical concept in the discussion of community and I am surprised (and a little appalled) that only one or two of the multitude of online community “experts” use it. Anyway, I’m going to draw on it heavily again but I promise to keep the academia to a minimum.

What is a shared emotional connection?

It is “the definitive element for true community”… and it is quite hard to describe.

When discussing a shared emotional connection, McMillan & Chavis outline seven features:

  1. The more you interact, the more you’re likely to become close
  2. The higher quality the interaction, the stronger the bonds
  3. Group cohesion is weaker when interaction lacks definition and community tasks are left unfinished
  4. The more important an event is to those participating in it, the stronger their ties will be to one another (e.g. Brisbane population during the floods)
  5. The community is more important to those who invest more time, energy or emotional risk in it
  6. Honouring or rewarding someone in front of the community makes them more attracted to it. Likewise, humiliating someone in front of the community makes them more adversed to it.
  7. Spiritual bond - present in all communities. McMillan & Chavis likened it to the concept of “soul” that united a national black community in the US. As Australians, “mateship” is a similar spiritual bond that ties us together, especially when we are abroad.

To put it another way, the authors summarised it thus:

"…strong communities are those that offer members positive ways to interact, important events to share and ways to resolve them positively, opportunities to [honour] members, opportunities to invest in the community, and opportunities to experience a spiritual bond among members".

You’ll notice that there is already some crossover between this and the other elements of membership, influence and fulfilment. I’ll cover that crossover in the next post.

What’s important here is that each of the features listed above invokes an emotional response, something not mentioned in the other elements. Membership is about identifying borders and overcoming barriers to entry; influence is about the ability to create change; fulfilment is about receiving that for which you joined.

To illustrate that point, I’ll use World of Warcraft as an example.

Membership: I can join the World of Warcraft online community by paying a monthly fee, waiting patiently through an enormous software download, and going through the steps of creating my game character.

Influence: I can make changes to the World of Warcraft online community through a number of ways. For example, consistently selling items in the auction house in large quantities below common market rates could drive down those rates (this isn’t easy, but it’s *technically* possible). I could file bug reports and ask for changes to be made to the game code to make the game more enjoyable (though it’s up to the software developer as to whether those changes will be made).

Fulfilment: It will depend what I was seeking by joining… but I can play the single-player quests and have a jolly good time without ever interacting with another player. Perhaps the need to be fulfilled was just to kill time for a few hours a week.

In other words, I can potentially play the game without developing an emotional connection to the rest of the online community. In which case I don’t have a sense of community and am, therefore, not really a community member.

However, if I interact with other players, if I create groups with them and share quests with them, if I join a guild and go on raids with other guild members, it would be impossible to not develop an emotional connection, one that is shared with other members. Finishing difficult quests together or securing a new piece of kit for a fellow member invokes feelings of enjoyment, trust and pride. A fellow group member may be honoured for their significant contributions to the group, which makes their membership all the more attractive to them. All members have invested time and energy in the group’s success, making them a more cohesive group.

It’s the high frequency of interaction, the quality of it and the excuses to do so (events), that pull people together emotionally.

It’s this emotional connection that all members share that is the major difference between a group of people and a community. Without a shared emotional connection, the other elements are useless.

It’s nearly time to finalise that definition. I already had the word “feel” in there (a bit of a slip-up on my part), so I’ve tweaked it slightly:

"Community is a group of people who, together, share the feeling they belong to something, can influence and be influenced by one another, and can have their needs fulfilled by fulfilling the needs of the group."

That is a community. It doesn’t explain how to build a community but it does give you the environment you should be targeting.

In the next post, I’ll talk about how it all ties together, give it a bit of polish, provide some examples and finally wrap up this new definition of community for 2011.

Posted from Greg Lexiphanic | Comment »

feminerds:

hexington:

bluedogeyes:

imaxfield:

THIS IS ACTUALLY A THING


Ok, this is pretty cool.

WHERE IS THE GIRLY VERISON?!!!
I want one. Now.

Um, Yes please!

Whoa. Want. Where do I get it?

feminerds:

hexington:

bluedogeyes:

imaxfield:

THIS IS ACTUALLY A THING

Ok, this is pretty cool.

WHERE IS THE GIRLY VERISON?!!!

I want one. Now.

Um, Yes please!

Whoa. Want. Where do I get it?

(Source: boywhoruinedeverything)

irrellievancy:

rumoko:

Music video made from non-porno scenes from pornos.

(via reddit)

This is kind of lovely. Friends with bad haircuts doing wholesome activities together!

Aww! It looks like the anti-porno lobbyists must’ve got to me. I thought pornos were bad but this has totally turned me around. They’re lovely!
I’m going to have to give these pornos a go! 

(via irrellievancy-deactivated201312)

frenchcinema:

Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

I am quite looking forward to this movie. 

frenchcinema:

Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011)

I am quite looking forward to this movie. 

(via avid)

Here’s your pre-Rapture song.